Thu. Feb 29th, 2024

Nova Scotia couple drags Air Canada into small claims and wins

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Air Canada must pay a total compensation of $1,500 to a Nova Scotia couple for a canceled flight in 2022.

Radio-Canada

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An arbitrator of the Court of small claims Nova Scotia orders Air Canada to compensate couple, about a year and a half after flight cancellation.

The air carrier must pay $1,583.70 to Terry and Vicki Lynn Black, which includes compensation of $700 under the Air Passenger Protection Regulations, as well as interest and other charges.

I'm very happy with this decision and happy that we decided to continue, says Vicki Lynn Black.

The couple was scheduled to take a flight from Halifax to New York with a stopover in Toronto on July 6, 2022, but once in Toronto, they learned the next leg was canceled due to crew constraints.

The couple secured a seat on an American Airlines flight and arrived in New York seven hours and 11 minutes later than expected.

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Terry and Vicki Lynn Black are awarded total compensation of approximately $1,500 per a Nova Scotia Small Claims Court arbitrator for a canceled Air Canada flight in 2022.

Although Mr. and Mrs. Black did not pay anything extra for this replacement flight, they requested compensation under the Air Passenger Protection Regulations for a delay of six to nine hours.

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Air Canada initially refused, saying that the cancellation of this flight was beyond its control or was caused by security reasons, which exempted it from paying the compensation. The carrier offered the couple two e-coupons for $300 each. The couple refused, and took their case to small claims court in November 2022.

In his decision, arbitrator J. Scott Barnett criticizes Air Canada for linking the cancellation of the flight to the COVID-19 pandemic. He points out that the pandemic was no longer a novelty in July 2022 and that the carrier could have planned appropriate alternatives.

Mr. Barnett said Air Canada did not present any evidence at the hearing on September 26, 2023.

The decision is satisfactory to the couple who stood up for themselves in front of a big corporation.

I just thought for those who wouldn't bother doing it because it's intimidating, here's some information and here's what constitutes probably a precedent that could give them the confidence to do so, says Vicki Lynn Black.

Air Canada says for its part that it is studying the decision of the referee.

The day before the last day of the hearing, Air Canada's lawyer offered the couple the full amount to which they were entitled, on the condition of signing a confidentiality agreement, which is a common practice, but the complainants refused.

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Gábor Lukács is a passenger rights advocate in Canada. (Archive photo)

Gábor Lukács, president of the Travelers' Rights organization, congratulates the couple.

We always encourage passengers not to agree to any type of non-disclosure agreement. This is money that is owed to the passenger under the law, and the airline should not be allowed to cover up its wrongdoing by simply compensating some victims, says Gábor Lukács .

He says he hopes all Canadian travelers will notice this decision.

Based on a report byAngela MacIvor, ofCBC

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